Our Mother is an Emotional Downer

How do you help your newly widowed mother when you live 3,000 miles away?


My sister & I live on the East Coast & my 2 brothers live fairly close to her on the West Coast. One is not able to even care for himself and the other has a young family of his own.

In our parents later years of life (50+) they retired early. They never made it a point to make friends, it was just the two of them. Our mother has sisters and brothers who live 4 hours from them.

But to get to the point,our mother is so hard to be around for longer than a day at the most. She is constantly talking behind everyone's back and is such a "negative Nancy". She thrives on the bad stuff, you try to change the subject and she gets mad.

She even talks bad about each of us (her children) when the other one isn't around.
Now there's the guilt thrown on us about how she's all alone, everything keeps breaking down around her (we tried for over 10 years to get them to move closer to family while our father was alive).

I know she needs our help but I am a happy person and her negative behavior is driving me farther and farther away. I now call her less often because I can't handle it anymore.

She has been a downer for the past 10 or so years of her life. I'm sure that's why her siblings keep a distance too. We know she won't change bit she sure knows how to put the guilt on us.

I love my mother very much and I love myself to much to have to listen to all the bad stuff all the time. I'm feeling horrible right now just putting this into words. Is it my duty to leave my job, husband, and life to move 3,000 miles back just to be miserable so she can attempt to be happy. I'm so torn.

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Caregiver for Elderly Mother
by: Sallie - Clinton, MS

My Mother is approaching 85 and for many years she has had a demanding, superior attitude. I live with her and care take her 24/7 and I am 61.

The problem is her demanding my grandchildren to come to her and speak. My response was, speak to them first and ask questions to them, be the bigger person. My grandsons are young boys.

I work very hard at trying to keep her happy during the later years of her life. I have tried to be the example of just being a kind, nice not expecting people to treat me in a certain way as she does, EXPECTING!

I told her when you expect for people to behave the way you want them to only sabotages your own emotion. She responded your being mean to me????

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Save Yourself!
by: Anonymous

Did your parents ever talk to you and your siblings about 'consequences'? My mom as well put all her 'friend' eggs into only being friends with her kids. This has taught me a great lesson . . . make lots of friends throughout my lifetime. Being her main caregiver has also taught me a lot about myself and my siblings and my mom.

It sounds as if I've been at this longer than you have (about the guilt anyway, not a Debbie Downer mom) and I have worked through most of my guilt.

Especially the guilt about my mom not having friends outside of her own six children. It took awhile but I'm good with it now because that is the path in life my mom chose for herself and it's not my job to 'fix' it.

This is what I've learned, guilt only hurts me and then it turns to resentment (again, only hurts me). So now, I don't do guilt. I ask myself what if anything I can do and then let the rest go.

Sometimes I have to let it go over and over and over and over again during a single day but I Continue to let it go and focus on the present moment in my life.

Isn't the whole point of having children for them to fly away on their own and make happy family (which make happy children)? And then, those happy children fly away etc.

Please let us all know how it goes. I'll be thinking of you and wondering how you're doing. Vent here all you want, that's what we do here most of the time and it really helps!!
m in santa rosa ca

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